11 October 2002
JAMES, Henry. The Better Sort. London: Methuen & Co, 1903.
8o. Publisher's advertisements at end dated February 1903. (Some pale foxing, mostly at beginning and end.) Original scarlet cloth, gilt-lettered on front cover and spine (small stain on front cover, spine lightly sunned). Provenance: Ethel C. Clifford (presentation inscription).
FIRST EDITION, binding A (no priority). PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY JAMES TO ETHEL C. CLIFFORD on the front free endpaper: "To dear Ethel C. Clifford Henry James March 9th 1903." The English edition was printed simultaneously with the Scribner's American edition.
Ethel Clifford was the daughter of Lucy Clifford, the Victorian novelist and socialite, and one of James's closest friends. James and Lucy Clifford met in the 1880s and remained close: "... Their friendship had deepened ever year... James often address her as 'Dearest Aunt Lucy' [after her popular novel Aunt Anne] ... on other occasions she was his 'Beloved girl.' ... Mrs. Clifford was one of three London friends who would be remembered in Henry James's will..." (Leon Edel, Henry James: The Master, NY, 1972, pp.105-106). BAL 10652; Edel & Laurence A57a.
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